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02-01-2011, 08:58 AM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Great result, was that shot with the Meade LX75 equatorial mount?.
Thanks Ex Finn.

And yes, it was shot with that mount.

Actually, it is quite easy to set up for this type of work, i.e. a lot of short exposures (I took exacly 100 that night) for stacking. As long as I restrict myself to focal lengths in the 400mm range and up to 30s of exposure time, I can get away with the following procedure:

Set the mount to Polar Home; power up and confirm the two alignment stars that the LX75 chooses for you (without doing anything), and then use the GOTO function to a bright star of your own choice.

Rotate the mount until you have the star centered in your finder scope and voila - you have sufficient accuracy for some 30 seconds of exposure. It only takes a few minutes. This, of course, provided that you have got your finder scope properly aligened and your polar altitude set reasonably correct "once and for all".

Steen G. B.

05-27-2011, 06:24 PM   #92
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I have tried a bit of night time sky picture taking. Since the budget says my Pentax K-m is the camera being used, here is a sample of one I took a few nights ago. The towns power happen to go out so it set-up conditions right for astro photo taking. I will just be doing over views of the sky over a period of time to see the changes in the star field.



I cropped out a very small part of the image (the brightest spot near the top) and worked it a little to get the image below. It is a galaxy. It is not very sharp but it shows at least what you can get when playing around.


Last edited by stevbike; 05-29-2011 at 05:06 AM.
06-01-2011, 04:46 PM   #93
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From the press relase for the new Pentax GPS unit

QuoteQuote:
Astrotracer for astrophotography
The O-GPS1offers the advanced PENTAX original Astrotracer function,* which works with the PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) system on select cameras for tracking and photographing celestial bodies. The unit calculates the movement of stars, planets, and other bodies using the latitude obtained from GPS data and the camera’s alignment data (horizontal and vertical inclinations and aspect) obtained from its magnetic and acceleration sensors. Then, the unit shifts the camera’s image sensor in synchronization with the movement of the object(s).** As a result, stars and other bodies are captured as solid points rather than blurry streaks, even during extended exposures. The unit also simplifies astrophotography by requiring only a tripod and eliminating the need for additional accessories such as an equatorial telescope.
* This function is available only when the O-GPS1 is mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body equipped with a magnet-driven SR system.
** The duration of Astrotracer operation may vary depending on photographic conditions.
Looks interesting
06-16-2011, 01:30 PM   #94
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Lunar Eclipse, 15 June 2011

The weather wasn't exactly co-operative for this event at my place. Drifting clouds and mist gave ever changing lightning conditions and my photographic achievements are less than perfect. But, anyway, I got some memories from the event, thanks to my K200D and my Tamron SP 300 mm f/5.6:



06-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #95
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevbike Quote
I have tried a bit of night time sky picture taking. Since the budget says my Pentax K-m is the camera being used, here is a sample of one I took a few nights ago. The towns power happen to go out so it set-up conditions right for astro photo taking. I will just be doing over views of the sky over a period of time to see the changes in the star field.

I cropped out a very small part of the image (the brightest spot near the top) and worked it a little to get the image below. It is a galaxy. It is not very sharp but it shows at least what you can get when playing around.
How comes, you think this being a galaxy? I would say, this is a simple star, smeared out by seeing and/or the poorer correction of the lens near its edges. The colourful halo around the bright inner core of the spot is the result of "atmospheric seeing" or tubrulences, which act like tiny lens and will refract the light into its colour components.

Ben
06-16-2011, 01:44 PM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
The weather wasn't exactly co-operative for this event at my place. Drifting clouds and mist gave ever changing lightning conditions and my photographic achievements are less than perfect. But, anyway, I got some memories from the event, thanks to my K200D and my Tamron SP 300 mm f/5.6:
Given the weather conditions, you have made a nice series. At our place, the Moon was hidden behind a thick cloud layer for the full length of the eclipse...

Ben
06-16-2011, 02:02 PM   #97
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
How comes, you think this being a galaxy? I would say, this is a simple star, smeared out by seeing and/or the poorer correction of the lens near its edges. The colourful halo around the bright inner core of the spot is the result of "atmospheric seeing" or tubrulences, which act like tiny lens and will refract the light into its colour components.

Ben
I am just expermenting with this now. As to the image, it is cropped a lot. I shot the same "star" with a 75 to 300mm and it had about the same look. I am open to learn more about this type of photography. It is interesting to do. It just shows just how small we are in this place called the place called space.
09-30-2011, 06:58 PM   #98
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You`ll find as you do more and more astro shots you`ll want better and better equipment...that long road that`s hard to go back on as was mentioned above.
I dont`t bother with the stacking part of it though it does make a cleaner image .I use a K10D which was never able to compare against the simplest of rebels but it is such an amazing camera.I shoot th e same way I did with my old Minolta,a simple 5-10min single exposure piggybacked on my telescope and guided by eye through the telescope with a cross-wire eyepiece but with way better(and instant)results compared to my grainy old 800 film.I like th e M series primes,135 and 200,but anything bigger than my 350mm tamron needs better tracking.
Start simple and keep it fun.

09-30-2011, 06:59 PM   #99
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Oops...sorry abut the way I inserted the pictures...kinda explains why I don`t stack...lol
10-02-2011, 07:25 PM   #100
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Here are a few pictures I took with my with my Kx - some while hooked up to my 8" Newtonian via prime focus
M82

M101

The Ring Nebula

The Milky Way from the Fort Collins KOA

The Moon
10-03-2011, 12:43 AM   #101
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DayStar

Very fine images zambonikane!! I wish I had access to such dark skies. The Milky Way picture is gorgeous.

Well, I don't have dark skies near me, so here's something very different.......

All stars are point-like light sources --- except for this one (clik on images to see larger versions):



K200D + Tamron Adaptall-2 series SP Model 54B lens + Tamron SP F-series 2 X Teleconverter. 600mm FL, f/11 @ ISO 100. Taken with the use of Solar filter foil from Thousand Oaks




Approx. 300% crop of original image.

Last edited by Stone G.; 10-03-2011 at 12:47 AM. Reason: misspelling + comment
10-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #102
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That foil seems to work really good. Nice image.
10-03-2011, 09:25 PM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by zambonikane Quote
Here are a few pictures I took with my with my Kx - some while hooked up to my 8" Newtonian via prime focus
M82

M101

The Ring Nebula

The Milky Way from the Fort Collins KOA

The Moon
Nice pictures. Were any of these stacked?

QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
Very fine images zambonikane!! I wish I had access to such dark skies. The Milky Way picture is gorgeous.

Well, I don't have dark skies near me, so here's something very different.......

All stars are point-like light sources --- except for this one (clik on images to see larger versions):



K200D + Tamron Adaptall-2 series SP Model 54B lens + Tamron SP F-series 2 X Teleconverter. 600mm FL, f/11 @ ISO 100. Taken with the use of Solar filter foil from Thousand Oaks




Approx. 300% crop of original image.
Great picture. I've taken a few pictures of sunspots when the sunset is just right. I find it confusing how the sunspot positions are the opposite of NOAA's sunspot maps.
10-03-2011, 09:40 PM   #104
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Since I don't have a good telescope or tracking mount, I've been exploring the possibilities with what I have (mostly my new 135mm f2.8 lens). And I discovered Deep Sky Stacker, which makes pictures so much clearer. Here are a few I took this weekend when the clouds finally cleared. There's a lot of light pollution around me, and I can't even see the Andromeda galaxy, which makes it hard to find.

Andromeda Galaxy (16 images stacked, 4 seconds, f2.8, ISO 12800)

Pleiades Star Cluster (50 images stacked, 4 seconds, f2.8, ISO 6400)

Orion Nebula (50 images stacked, 4 seconds, f2.8, ISO 6400)


I'm sure other posters in this thread have used Deep Sky Stacker. Does anyone know a website that shows the best settings to use? It's a little hard to experiment when each of these pictures takes an hour to make.
10-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #105
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My shots of the ring nebula and the galaxies were stacked using deep sky stacker which combined flat frames to reduce vignetting and dust blobs. Other than the shot of the moon, which was just cropped and converted from raw to jpeg, the images where then stretched using levels and curves in photoshop. I have only been doling this for about 2 months, so I still have a lot to learn. I just wish that I could disable dark frame subtraction (dfs) so I could use the dime the camera is taking a picture of itself to shoot the sky. I would still use dark frames, but I would just take them myself durring the day.
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